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Parent of Mt. Hebron football player files assault charge against Centennial coach

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The parent of a Mt. Hebron High School football player has filed an assault charge against an assistant Centennial High School football coach in Howard County District Court stemming from an on-field fight between the teams during the first quarter of a Sept. 21 game at Mt. Hebron.

Shane Snyder, the father of Mt. Hebron quarterback Jake Snyder, alleges that Centennial assistant coach Matt Winger, of Columbia, "violently pushed" Jake to the ground, causing a "severe fracture" of his right wrist during an on-field altercation between the teams, according to the statement of charges.

Winger and a Mt. Hebron assistant coach went on to the field to intervene after a fight broke out among a number of players near the end of the first quarter. The fight started when two players, who were shoving each other after a play, began to throw punches.

The two assistant coaches and two players from each team were ejected.

Winger recalls jogging onto the field to help break up the fight, but says the Mt. Hebron player with whom he made contact with was not Snyder.

"I, in fact, put my hand out and as I was telling this player, 'Stop, stop, stop,' which in my best recollection was No. 8 (Snyder wears No. 9), [but] he kept coming and bounced right off of my hand...and he bounced right back up," Winger said.

"The coaches and I were keeping our players on the sideline. I turned back around to see what was going on," he added. "At that point, I started to get concerned for the players' safety, and that's when my instincts took over and I simply jogged onto the field where the scuffle was taking place...as I finally thought I had things under control, I saw someone running toward our players. I put my [left] hand out.

"This entire situation is very unfortunate, and it saddens me. My intentions of coming on the field were to break up a fight among players to assure all kids were safe."

Winger was escorted to his car by two police officers, but said he was stunned that legal action was being sought.

"They weren't escorting me out because there were any issues with police officers, and they weren't suspecting me of assault or anything of that nature. They came over to walk to my car simply for my safety," he said.

On Sunday, Sept. 22, "another coach in the county reached out to me out of concern because he heard a rumor that there were arrests taking place...I was a little shocked, because I know what took place and I know what didn't take place. So it's an unfortunate circumstance, but it's something that I've got to deal with."

Winger said he has been suspended from the team until the investigation is concluded.

Snyder, who throws with his right arm, finished the game and threw 13 second-half passes in Mt. Hebron's 28-21 loss. 

According to the documents, Snyder's injury will put him in a cast for 16 weeks, effectively ending his 2013 season. 

Winger has been summoned to appear for a trial scheduled for Dec. 3. 

According to a State's Attorney spokesman, the application of the statement of charges will be screened by the State's Attorney's office, which will decide whether to prosecute. Screenings of charges brought by citizens typically occur on Mondays, according to the spokesman. 

Snyder, who was reached by phone Wednesday, said he would defer comment until after meeting with the State's Attorney's office, which he expects to happen next week. 

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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